Be it as Maddy in 'Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein', Farhan in '3 Idiots' or Manu in 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' R Madhavan has always given us heart-warming performances which is still etched in our minds.
As the actor now goes 'Saala Khadoos', in a candid conversation he talks about his choice of films, why 'Saala Khadoos' is a dear film to him and many other things.
Excerpts from the interview-
What is 'Saala Khadoos' all about?
'Saala Khadoos' is a film about two broken people who are hated in the environment where they live in..one is a retired boxer, the other is a fisher woman. The guy is hated because he is very talented but he doesn't adhere to rules. He is rude and foul mouthed. Even this girl is exactly the same. How these two people find boxing and how through that they attain the glory is that's what the story is all about.
Why is this project so close to your heart?
Because maybe I have put all my money into it as a producer. (laughs). Secondly I really believe in these kinds of films and the stories of underdogs. I just believe in doing my kind of cinema where I would myself love to go and watch these films in the theatres and I want to come back happy. This film is right up there. I am hoping that I get more such scripts in the future.
Your last film was 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and now 'Saala Khadoos', how easy was the transition for you?
Everybody thinks that it must have been really tough. In fact I shot 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' in between shooting 'Saala Khadoos'. Both of them are a very integral part of my personality. I am sometimes a soft guy and can also be 'khadoos' at times. So acting part was not difficult. But getting into the shape and maintaining it was the tough part.
Is your character based or inspired by boxing champion Muhammad Ali?
No, not at all.
Your co-star Ritika Singh is a boxer in real life...
Thankfully I don't have to box with her in the film. I was earlier worried about whether she can act and now I am worried that she can overshadow me because she is so good and outstanding. She just blew our minds as Mani.
It takes a very secure actor to do films like 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and now this where the female characters are strong. So how does that security as an actor comes from because such things happen rare in Bollywood?
You have to be a smart actor more than a secure one. The film has to work. Many years down the lane wherever 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' is mentioned they will remember Madhavan and Kangana. Having said that I want to caution people that this is not a female oriented film. Don't go there expecting a 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' because at the end of the day it's my film in terms of the title. She (Ritika) is exceptional in the film but she is not dominating the film. 'Saala Khadoos' is about two characters.
What was that one thing which drew you towards 'Saala Khadoos'?
The realism, the fact that a lady director was directing it and I also knew that nobody in the world can make an actor look more attractive than a lady director. You have to have some great feminine traits in you to make your hero look good.
What is more important to you, the script or the director?
Without doubt, it's the script first to get me interested in the director. Once the script is ready then I romance the director a lot. I spend a lot of time with them..go out with them for dinners and meetings just to know how they will react under pressure. I am being brutal because I cannot afford to make a mistake.
Was there any particular struggle that you felt as a producer?
Mr Raju Hirani never made me feel the smallest pressure of producing this film. My name is just there. He took care of everything so I think that I am very lucky as a producer.
Why do we see you so less in Bollywood?
By the time you get the story right and the kind of script you want to do, two-three years pass by. So I believe in doing good quality films. I don't have a film next so I am really worried now. (smiles)
But your fans would like to see you doing more Hindi films.
So I will do ads for them. (laughs)